Wednesday, 14 April 2010


Some cities have an aura of warmth; an ancient prayer that echos against their walls as time passes, possessing you as it repossesses its reign over your sense of being, as you become an extra in their big show of eternal pre-existence.

I just got back from Beirut, or Beyrouth as she's known to her offspring, and despite my overt confession of the superiority of Amman to all other cities, despite her intellectual drought and barren lineage, Beirut takes over you, with her ancient post modern charm and subtle madness. There was a fresh juice vendor outside where I stayed in Hamra, with his humble cart and incredible resemblance to Iraq's Tariq Aziz, and for the few mornings I was there, he got me used to a cool cup of fresh orange juice, and despite our short lived acquaintance; I got a sense of his noble poverty, one of pride, without prejudice.

Cities have souls, and they remain young and playful like two lovers exchanging glances across a room full of strangers, even if their faces show signs of aging; Beirut has a mysterious charm, one I don't long for, but whenever I experience, I miss, like a love I've not yet experienced but know of its hypnotic effect.


  1. Nothing pleases a "Beirutieh" like me more than reading something this sweet about my birthplace for a change and actually coming from you makes it a double treat !! You made her look like something from a fairy tale or a dream..
    I am glad to see that Beirut is still capable of charming and seducing hoping that one day you will long for her as well..

    I am trying to locate that juice vendor.. lool

    Tracks # 1 and 14 are my favorites..

    w el7amdellah 3ala salemtak Ammar:)

  2. Glad you visited the Levant again, I guess it was hard to leave the airport back to London. It gets harder every time I leave Damascus

  3. Absoloutly Noura, give praise where praise is due, I like Beirut, and the last time I was there was probably 2005, but the complex simplicity about everything there is amazing, it's an Alive place despite everything, and that's a trait of greatness.

    The vendor is opposite the Red Shoe in Hamra!

    KJ: I've always said that the Levant is the greatest geography on earth, and given the chance, it would be a super power, no wonder it has endless troubles. True, it actually felt worse on the plane as the shores started the disappear!

  4. Love the post<3. Reminds me of the beautiful post you wrote about eve a couple of years ago:) you're such a sentimental poet writing no poetry but beautiful posts!

  5. Yeah I was under a spell back then, it's still there under Top Posts on the left pannel!

    Thanks for the great compliment Lubz!

  6. Hi Ammar, I hope the changes in your blog means you're coming back ..
    For some reason google reader and your blog do not match, the posts are in different order and some of them completely disappeared and this post "Beirut" is not there !!

    You look like you lost some weight, or is it the beard ?? :)

  7. Yes indeed..."Beirut has a mysterious charm" :)

    I was born in Beirut & it took me years and years to be able to go there again. I can not but smile when I remember Beirut :) and I have this picture in my mind for the sea trying to make its way between the buildings of the old city :)

    Thank you for the post and the music (which matches the picture perfectly)!