So everyone’s getting all hot and bothered about Syria. The NY Times breathlessly reports that the Saudis, geographical freaks by any standard, have advised the “President” of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, to withdraw his troops from Lebanon. The subtitle proclaims: Arab nations back west.
My Jewish friends are feeling all smug and self-righteous. Finally, the world is paying attention to a another occupation. Make no mistake about it. The Israelis who live in Judea and Samaria are, well, pussies compared to the Syrian troops who occupy Lebanon. I mean drop in on any Palestinian grade school and what are the kids learning? How to pack dynamite into their Power Ranger lunch boxes and shred a bunch of Jews. What occupier puts up with that? Answer: dumb Jews. Pathetic.
Meanwhile, up north in Beirut, the Syrians have clamped down on the TV stations, the newspapers, the universities. If you own a fax machine you have to register it with the “authorities.” Step out of line and you’re on your way to Damascus with a one way ticket for some extreme re-education. Now that’s an occupation.
A few words about Lebanon. It was created by the English and French in 1918, after WWI. Before that it was an outpost of the Ottoman empire made up of warring tribes. Mostly Christian Maronites cutting each other’s throats for sport. So when the Great Powers said, “Okay chaps, you’re a country now,” these tribes set about seriously killing each other — in order to grab power. These groups, gangs really, much like The Crips and The Bloods, except infinitely more violent, have a nasty habit of killing the rival men, then raping the women. Or sometimes making the men watch as they rape the women. It’s like soccer, only more extreme.
Anyway, Lebanese ethnic warfare makes the current Balkans look like a picnic. I know, I know, people talk about Beirut as the “Paris of the Middle East.” But folks, we’re talking the Mid-East here. Whatever peace existed was simply a temporary break in the slaughter. The various gangs were merely biding their time, waiting to make their move and do what comes naturally to them: torture, rape and slaughter one another.
Things are a bit more complicated in Lebanon now. The Maronites are no longer just killing each other, now they’re busy with the Shia, whose women are a lot more fertile, and so the Maronites are looking at a growing Shia majority and let me tell you, no one hates the way a Maronite hates a Shia, and vice-versa.
And now we’ve got the Syrians in the mix.
They call themselves “The Syrian Deterrent Force.” Yeah, right. Truth is, Syria has always considered Lebabon to be a lost province. They’d like to swallow Lebanon — the way my shul friends devour cholent, a Jewish chile, at the Shabbos kiddush, Sabbath meal. Normally, this would not present any problems for the surrounding Arab countries. Arab solidarity is as solid as, well, the last Hollywood contract I signed.
Gosh, I fondly recall the late 60’s and Nasser and all this Pan Arabism. It was sooooo much fun, watching these mobs, screaming and crying after they lost the Six Day War. I said to myself: they just got humiliated big time and they’re begging their leader to stay in power! Wow. Enemies like this you cannot make up.
But the good old days are gone. And all because of George Bush. Yup. The man I voted for. He’s really taking all the fun out of the Mid East game. The Arabs are telling Syria to get out. Why? Because George actually means what he says.
The Arabs are used to girlie-men like Carter, Ford and Clinton. Men who bug out at the first sign of trouble. The Arabs absolutely adored Carter. This guy turned out the lights in the White House. You can’t beat that for stupidity. No way this guy was going to fight anything. That’s the kind of American the Arabs want.
Nope, Bush has thrown a monkey wrench into the game. He’s deployed troops in two Arab countries. He’s freed about 50 million Arabs. He’s willing to take, gasp, casualties. He’s totally retro: he actually believes that everyone yearns for freedom. Personally, when I lived in Israel, the few Arabs I knew all yearned for Charlie’s Angels, but gee, maybe I just chilled with weird Arabs.
So the new calculus is at hand. The Arabs realize that if they don’t make some gesture to pacify Bush, well then, they might wake up one fine morning and find a bunch of foul-mouthed 19-year-old marines, making themselves nice and comfy in their palaces. Talk about locking up your daughters. The Saudi women will be throwing themselves at the US barracks begging for marriage, green card style.
Bashar al-Assad. Or, as I fondly refer to him: Junior. You know that show on TV, Extreme Makeover. They take some hideous man or woman, shove ’em in a stretch limo, give them tons of plastic surgery, cap their teeth, make ’em lose about a zillion pounds and then dress the women like sleazy porn stars and the men like gay hustlers.
Then at “The Reveal,” all the relatives and friends scream and weep and invariably the now less hideous medical experiment intones, and make no mistake about it, this has been carefully scripted: “I now have self-esteem. I like myself. I am a good person.”
Anyway, that’s my absolutely favorite moment. Because like all Hollywood endings it promises a new beginning, a new tomorrow.
Which is complete crap.
These people are gonna revert to their old ways in no time at all. Pathological personalitieshave a way of, ahem, making repeat performances.
I’m bringing this up because Junior does not have a chin. I mean it looks like somebody came along with an axe and sliced off a considerable chunk of bone.
Anyway, I have this fantasy that a bunch of Hollywood makeover artists (gay, natch) kidnap Junior, give him a complete makeover, and in the end he looks in the mirror and weeps copious tears.
Then he stands on a lovely hill and looks out over Lebanion and says: “I have self-esteem. I’m a good person. I no longer need to occupy this land. I can go back to being a humble optometrist. I now have a chin”
You see, that’s what comes from working in Hollywood for too long. I am delusional.
Now we can:
Fade to Black