Occidentalist Stories I

Occidentalist Stories I // Tea is a million miles away when the British begin to party

This article is a spoof on a terribly poor piece of journalism published by the Daily Telegraph here

London notebook: Vomit, bare feet and cosmetic dentistry – there’s a side to England you don’t often hear about.

It wasn’t even 9pm and already the crowd had given itself to wild abandon. Slaloming through the patches of vomit all over the pavement, pasty chubby girls in mini skirts clutched their high heels as they walked barefoot, struggling not to get groped by an endless stream of drunken men offering to take them home.

Having spent up to three hours working on their makeup – in addition to hours of tanning salon for the elite and a dozen showers of spray tan for the working class – the ladies strived to maintain a noble figure, as the humidity in the overcrowded pubs inevitably lead to excessive sweating.

But when they’re not able to beat the heat, the girls of London make up for it by showing off their legs and cleavage. In the upper echelons of British society, the most important thing is to see and be seen. Which reminded me of home because that’s also the way it is in the upper echelons of Lebanese society. And then it hit me that it’s actually the case in the upper echelons of pretty much every country in the world, which made me realize how dumb the point I was trying to make was.

Beauty is paramount: newly designed and whitened teeth gleam on British Instagram accounts. Having grown tired of the Brits’ bad dental reputation around the world, the elite of London have taken it upon itself to never save a penny until their smiles were California-perfect. And together, they throw parties worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, which is also what pretty much all super rich people around the world do.

It is a lifestyle that few can realistically afford. So they rely on credit. It is said that most of the country’s big spenders sustain their lifestyles using bank loans they cannot obviously repay. But don’t ask me who told me that because I don’t really know, although I know it sounds stupid. But hey, that’s what I heard somewhere and well, I guess it could make sense if we explained that phenomenon by linking it to a major need to overcompensate the harsh times the Brits had to go through during World War I and World War II. By taking bank loans and buying cars and houses, they show the world that they have finally moved on.

(My room mate Betsy just told me that pretty much half of the world’s population lives on bank loans they cannot repay, but I don’t care. It’s MY article and fuck Betsy.)

Scratch below the surface, and it is clear that the gaping social wounds caused by centuries of colonisation and imperialism are far from resolved. In English classrooms, I don’t really know what happens because I’ve never been to one. However, I’m pretty sure that teachers manage to find ways to justify the Empire’s ruthless dominance, subordination and slavery over African and Eastern countries, and English kids grow up thinking everything happened for a good cause.

Society remains divided. Most Brits put origin before country. London is a patchwork of separate cantons (in white Chelsea, the men wear polos, while 15 minutes tube ride west, in the mostly Pakistani district of Newham, the prevailing fashion is the long beard and the turban.)

The communities rarely interact. Rushing through the city’s Irish quarter one night, on my way to the chic Kensington, I was stopped by an elderly redhead who warned me not to go on. “There are too many foockin Brits there,” he cautioned.

With the government thriving to impose a one dimensional version of past events, most children who are too smart to buy it (and who have internet access) turn to their relatives for information about the momentous and ruthless history of this country. But in so doing, they mostly hear a one-sided version.

The “us” and “them” of colonisation and immigration transfers to the next generation, and empathy, so critical for the fostering of true and lasting peace, falls by the wayside. (I’m very proud of that previous poetic sentence. Take that Betsy!)

A British businessman told me recently how he struggled to persuade a Lebanese colleague to come to London. For years she refused to visit, until it became a necessity for her work.

Convinced she was flying into a land of raves, techno and date rape drugs, her hands shook with fear as she checked in at the Rafic Hariri International Airport. On the plane she broke into floods of tears. And I’m hoping my Lebanese readers will start crying here too.

England’s vital signs – fish and chips, royal weddings and football – often yield news headlines that predict a country where everything is seemingly great. But the country has proven supremely more fucked up, and it remains, for the most part, a pretty racist place to be.

Sure, there’s 24/7 electricity and the summers are practically inexistant because of the shitty weather. But rather than hiding from daily unexpected showers and bumping into streetlights because of the fog, the biggest risk to non-white foreigners in England is to be a victim of prejudice, exoticism and xenophobia.

For now, sadly, even the royal family is moving out of Buckingham Palace for tax reasons. A royal guard, dressed in a red military suit and a funny black hat, gazes into the distance and cries a little at the idea of potential unemployment.

The businessman’s friend may well have been the last customer at Burger King Soho this afternoon.

ShareShare on Facebook779Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedIn0Share on Google+0Share on Tumblr0

11 thoughts on “Occidentalist Stories I // Tea is a million miles away when the British begin to party”

  1. I don’t see it this way. I may have some critics towards it but hey in comparasion to the Arab world, God forbids. Yes Beirut is beautiful but what’s about the unbearable humid weather in the summer (don’t tell me u go to the mountain ) not to mention the never ending sectarianism. By the way, it’s very admirable to leave Buckingham palace for tax purpose than not been able to elect a president for the ‘country’ for years.

    1. You obviously didn’t get it. That’s not the point.
      It’s not a contest of which country’s better because that would be stupid. It’s a satirical article to show that when you want to write something with an ill-intention, you can pretty much pick any “facts” you want and pretend to describe and summarize a whole complex culture in a 500 word article. Is anything I said about London wrong? No. Is it representative of what London and England really are? Absolutely not. Same thing for the shitty article about Beirut. And that’s why this is a satire.

      1. Everything you have said is wrong. For one I am not in debt. I live in Leeds. We have parties but they are in clubs. Yes areas of London are are bad but most are really well kept and you are probably more likely to be shot in Lebanon. The rich people do not spend more than they can afford. They have huge businesses. Blame our government. They spend all our money helping other countries through War and Famine. You should be careful what you publish. We are good people and a strong nation. A caring nation. Unfortunately all Governments spend all of our money. But if you don’t really know about our country trying to teach you economics will be a complete waste of time. If you want to give such a bad impression of a country on so little research and information you are clearly a very good reporter. Good luck for the future brother.

        1. I’m sorry you don’t seem to have gotten the tone of the article. It’s a satire and a spoof on an actually serious (though disastrous) article published about Lebanon in the Telegraph. The link is at the beginning of my article. I’m not a reporter or a journalist nor do I intend to be one, I’m a fiction writer who’s sick of stereotypical articles about my city published in the western media – thus my spoof which is only set to prove one thing: when you are ill intentioned, you can pretty much write anything about any city in the world by handpicking anecdotes and presenting misinformed facts and claim to sum up the complexity of a whole culture in a 500 word article.

          I personally have been to London and other places in the UK many times and have had an amazing time there. My intent was not to offend any British people out there, but more to put the finger on a way of doing things when it comes to western journalism in the Middle East that us Middle Eastern are increasingly tired of.

          Thanks for reading and for dropping a comment, I hope my point is clearer now.

          Cheers xx

  2. Stupid article. Written with a damaged ego.

    Truth Hurts…live with it.

    Lebanese are racist, ignorant and violent. I can say much much more about your people and your country. I live there and I don’t judge by some badly written foreign article.
    There much more interesting topics to write that can hurt the fuck out of you.

    1. You obviously didn’t get it. There’s definitely no damaged ego here because I don’t give a shit about being Lebanese or British or Nepali for that matter. That’s not the point.
      It’s not a contest of which country’s better because that would be stupid. It’s a satirical article to show that when you want to write something with an ill-intention, you can pretty much pick any “facts” you want and pretend to describe and summarize a whole complex culture in a 500 word article. Is anything I said about London wrong? No. Is it representative of what London and England really are? Absolutely not. Same thing for the shitty article about Beirut. And that’s why this is a satire.

      1. I guess people have a problem in understanding what’s satire. And a bit of lack of self humor. By the way…self humor (or auto irony) is the best symptom of intelligence. Great article.

        1. Fortunately some people do get and appreciate satire, I’m happy you’re one of them. Thanks for reading and for the comment x

  3. Fantastic article…

    Western media is full of patronising and shitty stories, based on “a source”, an ‘interaction with a mysterious old man’ ad naeseum…and when the public read these broadsheets it’s taken as gospel, and just perpetuates through society…
    I had a pasty white, balding English friend who went to Iran for a couple of weeks last years and made a comment of how “women where eye f cking me through their niqabs”
    Please, enough of this sh t

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>