Walking past on my way out, I saw a large white patch on the drive. Paint? Powder? I stopped and stared and realized it was was frost. Frost is a rare sight in Beirut, but there is sometimes a liquid nitrogen delivery truck from Chehab that stops and vents. An hour and a half later, I passed by again. It had diminished only by half. There must have been quite a spill.
American University of Beirut during student elections today. A highly militarized (that is the word used) campus. It looked to be a very busy entrance, with at least ten soldiers on the ground watching and questioning any waiting vehicles. There was also a covered truck full of waiting troops. It seems a bit excessive, but other univrsities have clashes, because the student groups apparently are branches of national political parties. Groups will distribute “lists” of their recommend candidates. I expect to hear some honk parades tonight, a Lebanese institution I will blog, if I can ever get a photo of one.
In national elections, which have so many remarkable aspects that I dare not start recounting, ballots are not used. A citizen votes where the family is registered, which might be far from where they live because the family was living there some generations ago. It also may be in a particular place for that confession and even women may vote separately from men. Getting to that place may require travel through a gauntlet of electioneering. Finding the actual voting venue may be difficult and encourage anyone thinking you might be voting differently to provide misdirections. In any case, the voter deposits a piece of paper with names of the desired candidates written on it, which is conveniently conducive to all sorts of interesting twists. Parties will distribute pre-printed papers of their recommended slate: a “list.” Tricks include invalid lists with incorrectly spelled names, rival parties fielding candidates with the same name as a known politician also running for the same slot, tracking whether those paid to vote a list actually did so by observing the counting process (done by family number and district) looking for paper type, font, etc. As non-citizen, I should be spared such knowledge, but I once accompanied a family voting expedition. Lunch in Zahleh and the bizarre stories were fair compensation, once.
I learned today that even a parents’ committees at a local high school (required by law and something like a PTA) has elections with lists: Everything is politicized? No, all politics is local.
The red recycling motif is anti-regime; the black strikes out and states the name of Syria’s president. The blue-on-white almost looks as if it might be a silk-screen print, not a stencil. That intrigues me. It would be more environmentally friendly to brush than spray. This reminds me of a brush I saw (or had) with “Mehr Bürsten – Weniger Chemie” (more brushing – less chemistry) written on it. I am not quite sure sure if I recall it correctly, but the idea was to scrub more and use less soap.
All of these are difficult to read, and they seem to express opinions supporting and opposing the current Syrian regime. The green is not about Syria; it advocates public parks in Beirut. I am not sure who the stenciled face represents. At first, I thought it might be Bob Marley, but why here? In Clemenceau.