-The traffic in Bahrain is becoming more and more unbearable. It’s starting to resemble Tehran and Beirut. In the last two weeks I’ve had to twice get out of the car and spar with a couple of bozos for blocking the road because they were too lazy to park half a minute away and walk; instead deciding to park in the middle of the road to order their shawarmas and in the process making me and the rest of the commuters’ wait for their highnesses to fill their guts. Mark my words, road rage will become a regular scene in Bahrain. I suggest you keep a 2×4 handy in the car for protection.
-If Inflation in housing is 29.2% and is 38.4% in food goods, and if these are the two biggest components in inflation, how is overall inflation only 3.5%?
-It’s hard for me to quantify or express the magnitude of anger I have towards the French embassy visa section and whoever is in charge of that hellhole (although the Arabic lady who meets the applicants was nice enough). They are sadists who get off on power trips and their pathetic regulations that make people’s life miserable. Let’s just say I wouldn’t be one of the first to express sorrow if that place was to be knocked down. In a perfect world Bahrain would follow Brazil and implement reciprocity in visa regulations to these countries. Unfortunately, we need their visas more than they care about ours and they know it.
-I was really impressed by the Bahrain book fair and the considerable attendance there. It was heaving on both occasions that I went. However, taking a closer look I found out that most of interest was in the religious book stalls. I wonder what does it signify that most of the buzzing stalls sold books with titles like “عذاب القبر” and “الدرك الاسفل من النار”. Other, in my opinion publishing houses worthy of more attention like وحدة الدراسات العربية barely had anyone and were sometimes left unattended. I had a chat with the guy sitting in the دار رياض الريس book stall, one of the best Arabic ones out there, and he kept complaining about the very weak interest shown. I asked him where was the biggest attendance to their stalls and without hesitation he stated Saudi Arabia. He commented that their books disappear like hotcakes there (well the ones that do not get banned). Go figure.
I was interested to see if they had a copy of their النصوص المحرمة by ابو نواس but unfortunately and as expected it was banned by the ministry of information. Abu Nawwas is recognised as one of the foremost Abassid poets and is known for his religious and ghazal poetry, but what many forget is that before his religious transformation he was a big drinker and a sexoholic who’d fornicate with anyone who has a heartbeat, including concubines and young boys. Not only that, he also wrote very graphic classical Arabic poetry about his escapades, and I mean really graphic. Remember this was in the second hejri century, i.e. the 700s A.D. (more than 1200 years ago). And just like nowadays people have that favourite past time of “الحط على بعض”, where they’d indulge in making fun of each other and their moms, sisters and fathers (for nidoers, this would be similar to “your momma is so fat” exchanges, except much more profane), Abu Nawwas and his Shilla would engage in dirty هجاء about each other and their family relations, except that this was done in pure classical Arabic. It is amazing the amount of swear and dirty words that are in use nowadays that are classical Arabic in origin and which were used back then. Obviously this blog is no place to list or repeat them. If you are interested in this sort of thing then I’d recommend this book. You’ll amaze your friends to no end if you can recite some of these line in your next حط session (however you should keep in mind the danger of receiving a punch in the face).