City Blogging in Beirut

Part of the pleasure of starting this blog has been building closer contact with my existing students as I develop posts around some of their research and hearing back from former students who tip me about media developments in their part of the world. A little while ago, I got e-mail from a former undergraduate student Rania Khalaf. She had been a student in my Introduction to Media Studies class years ago and was reminded of the class by recent developments involving digital media in her native country of Lebanon.

In this case, I wanted to share with you the story in her own words and through the images being produced by artists in the Middle East but circulated around the world.

Here’s what she wrote to me:

I have been thinking a lot about that class lately and was thinking you’d find the blogging about the Lebanese-Israeli war, especially by the art community, to be an interesting phenomenon… Now, the blogs are seeping onto the walls of cities.

Here’s what happening:
First, the usual first Web blogging is happening by people on both sides of the conflict. Well – since I’m Lebanese and my family’s all there … I’m a pretty stressed out – so I’ve mainly been following the blogs from/about lebanon. And now, as Paul Keller puts it, they’re moving into the ‘urban fabric’ and becoming ‘city blogs’ .

A couple of these blogs that I like best are chronicling the war, not the politics of it but the day-to-day of it, using sketches. Maybe a few song lyrics. Maybe a few paragraphs of text. A song here and there, and one song using the falling bombs for bass.

Here are the two blogs I’ve been mostly checking out

beirut%201.jpg

beirutnight.jpg

There’s even one that uses annotated pics of Arabic Superman comics .

superman%20cries.jpg

Having grown up in the middle east and through one civil war, well .. let’s just say political analysis of that region turns into wacky conspiracy theories and goes back thousands of years into a blame game that wastes precious time (and in turn, precious lives) .. making it so very sick that sometimes it makes me laugh a little filling the room with a nasty cynicisim .. So I tend to veer to the blogs that are about the human condition , about common sense, about staying alive and moving forward. Me, I’m still holding out for eternal peace and love and all that cheese.