Primitive Societies Were Not So Primitive!

Culture, History

By Farah K. Yachouhi

May 23, 2016

We are taught that life is linear and that it is a series of our achievements where one leads to the other, but most of us are good at things that are generally not promoted in our educational system! What about walking on your hands just as easily as walking on your feet? What about being haunted by music and constantly having the urge to make noise on counter tops? What about scoring every hoop you shoot? What about loving the smell of lead and charcoal smudged all over your hands?

Our educational system is a result of thousands of years of predominantly patriarchal societies that had adopted logic, rationality, dogma and science but condemned the senses, practicality, spirituality, and art! We live in a world where we are constantly in a struggle for survival rather than in an effort for continuity and progression. As a result, we are constantly being conditioned and reconditioned into liking things we naturally dislike. When did this all start?

Primitive societies that date back to prehistoric times were of a matriarchal nature that promoted prosperity, peace and abundance. Unlike male dominant patriarchal societies, a matriarchal society is not female dominant. It is about the balance of feminine and masculine and a profound connection to nature.

In hunter-gatherer societies or primitive societies, when a woman was skilled in hunting, she could hunt. If a man prefered gathering herbs and plants over hunting, he could do so without being any less masculine than his fellow male hunters. Harmony was key and this was achieved by learning how to balance the masculine and the feminine within each individual. Primitive societies were not so primitive, but how did we end up where we are today?

Civilizations emerged from these societies that continued in the matriarchal trend. Let’s take Ancient Egypt as an example. Countless statues depict the queen and the pharaoh either sitting or standing side by side with the queen’s arm wrapped around the pharaoh from behind. Through their frescos and art we understand that these societies also endorsed the idea of ‘good living’ that was taught to the populace through rituals and ceremonies.

Weighing of the heart ceremony reminded the people of the moment when Anubis, god of the underworld, weighed the heart of the deceased against a feather. If their heart was no heavier than a feather, then they could pass to the after life. With that, the populace learned to be light of heart. Where does our love for material, power, possession and greed come from?

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Anubis (with the jackal head) takes the deceased to the balance of justice, where he weighs the deceased’s heart against a feather. 

 

Later works of art represented this ceremony with a core difference. As priesthood, organized religion and dogma started to gradually rise and gain power, a shift towards a patriarchal society started to take place. Priests started popularizing the idea of paying for one’s salvation.

Paintings from the tomb of Petosiris at Muzawaka (m)

At the bottom left of fresco, Anubis and Horus are holding the balance of justice as the deceased on the top waits for their verdict. To their right, riches are being offered.

 

History is preserved in art and architecture. As patriarchy rooted itself, all of those who came to power attempted to erase the matriarchal past. Today, art in all its forms is no longer regarded as important. Our educational system gives birth to zombie-like generations that get an education just to fall into a vicious circle of hard work that can be almost called slavery. The human race has been conditioned to become greedy, materialistic, and selfish. How do you feel about what you do? Do you lose track of time while doing it? If not, then know that it is not what you are naturally built for!

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Twinning Towns: A Lebanese Dream

Culture, Politics

By Farah K. Yachouhi

May 14, 2016

Nation building stands on two anchors: a shared history and a common “Dream” or philosophy as some like to call it. These two components act like the base pairs that help keep the DNA double helix in a regular helical structure. A shared history and a shared philosophy basically stabalize and bind all the other components of a nation. What is the “Lebanese Dream”? Is twinning towns or cities going to take us there?

Twinning towns is a concept that became largely popular in Europe after World War II. Many European towns and cities support the idea because it mainly fostered rebuilding broken bridges, mending mutilated relationships and restoring peace in the continent. Europe now has a union in its name that might have its disadvantages, but we can all agree that it “contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe” and therefore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize of 2012. What about Lebanon? What can we do with this concept? Is it not our dream to have peace and prosperity?

Weaker nations are highly susceptible to foreign ideological invasions and that is because they simply do not have one of their own! Stronger nations have a robust economy and a firm command over both their domestic politics and their international relations. It does not take an architect or an engineer to know that the stronger your pillars are, the stronger the structure that rises on top of them! How strong are our pillars?

We have a long way to go before twinning with foreign towns or cities, but we can definitely start by understanding more each other. How about twinning within our borders? Wouldn’t this reinforce and reconstruct a long lost national unity? We all know that some Lebanese citizens have never seen the Temple of Bacchus in Baalbeck or the limestone caves of Jeita Grotto or our beloved Cedar forest!

Wouldn’t a local twinning of towns encourage local businesses like that of farmers from the north or fishermen from the south? Wouldn’t this enhance collective security and living in an ethnically diverse country becomes more than mere coexistence? Wouldn’t it enrich our kowledge of our multi-cultural Lebanon?

All ideas count on Iza Fakkarna. Share your thoughts on this below!

 

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1. Twinning: Ten Keys to success

Martyrs’ Day Is Not a National Holiday!

Culture, History, Politics

Featured photo:

http://www.alexhoffordphotography.com/node/2189

By Farah K. Yachoui

May 6, 2016

How is the commemoration of the Lebanese martyrs not enlisted as an official national holiday? Are we losing the battle against social amnesia? This collective forgetfulness is mainly caused by either ignorance or intentionally oppressing painful memories. Sadly, in our case, ignorance is more likely to get the better of us.

Are we even aware of the reason why or how this memorial day came to exist in the first place? May 6, 1916, was the day twenty-one patriotic men lost their lives for promoting and embracing unity. All as one, they sought for reform to obtain autonomy within the declining Ottoman Empire at the time.

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Martyrs’ Square Before

At the dawn of the twenty-first century, we started to embrace a new collective memory that highlights sectarianism. Martyr’s Square has transformed drastically from an oasis of national heritage to an arid grave.

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Martyrs’ Square Today

Collective memory is a shared memory or knowledge between two or more people. It can be of actual events or of constructed stories, known as legends, told from one generation to the next. These memories are better remembered through images than through words. They are best represented in erected memorials, art and architecture. Public memory is preserved in libraries, museums and monuments or erased by their absence.

Martyrs’ Day should be a day that hosts a state ceremony during which the national flag is lowered to half-mast as a symbol of respect and mourning, giving patriotic speeches and visiting gravestones or memorial sites. It should be a day where all Lebanese citizens stop whatever they are doing and stand in silence at that specific moment in time when all traffic lights turn red and a classical instrumental version of our antheme is broadcasted across the country on national TV and on every local radio station!

It should be a day where families get together and feast at one table with their martyrs. When forgotten, they will no longer be martyrs. They will merely be dead men. A nation plagued with forgetfulness will soon dissolve into a herd of mindless creatures and empty souls. Where do you stand? Where do you feast today?

Let us know what you think. Click on leave a comment to share your ideas below or simply share it if you like it!

Thank you for reading!

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Let’s Commit Suicide

Culture, Politics

By Farah K. Yachouhi

May 3, 2016

In the spirit of the upcoming municipal elections and as the date approaches, the tension heightens between those who seek change and those who claim they do. The truth is, first time voters are the ones who are under the most pressure. With our youth being the main catalyst for change, they are in fact standing before two cruel choices: Political Crime or Political Suicide. Yes, the pressure is on!

Municipal elections in Lebanon occur every six years. The last one was in 2010. Our general elections, that are supposed to take place every 4 years, last took place in 2009. This means that every young citizen aging 21 to 26 is voting for the first time this time around!

With that said, let’s explore the two options they have at hand. Inspired by the realist Machiavellian term criminal virtue¹, some scholars in political science, like Francis Fukuyama and Charles Tilly, agree that most nations are the product of original crime² or organized crime³. The two terms are quite different, but identical at the core. These notions mainly support endorsing crime for profit or power. How many of us can agree that most of the current prominent leaders are a product of such crimes?

However, Fukuyama also highlights that nation building comes from within which is where, metaphorically speaking, committing political suicide comes in. An ancient mythological legend best explains this phenomenon. The Phoenix, a magestic bird, in so many different cultures represents rebirth, resurrection and the rise of a new era! Only one of its kind can roam the living realm at a time. When it is time for it to die, it sets itself on fire with a clasp of its magnificent wings allowing a new Phoenix to be born from its ashes. Is it not time for the burdened Phoenix to burn and let a new, young, ambitious and rejuvenated one rise from its ashes?

What is your vote going to be for, more crime or a dignified suicide? Leave a comment below. All ideas are welcome on Iza Fakkarna.

If you like what you just read and want to read some more, scroll all the way down and choose any of the previously posted articles!

Sources:

1. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

2. The End of History and the Last Man by Francis Fukuyama

3. War Making and State Making as Organized Crime by Charles Tilly